Homeland Security Adviser Mohamed Elibiary Goes on Hate-Filled Anti-Christian Rant, Attacks Jindal as ‘Bottom Feeder’
Obama administration Muslim adviser Mohamed Elibiary is no stranger to regular PJ Media readers.
In September, Elibiary was unceremoniously removed from his fellowship position with the Department of Homeland Security, which he tried to spin as a “resignation,” but letters sent to members of Congress by DHS officials indicated he would not be reappointed.
Undoubtedly, one of the chief reasons for DHS cutting ties with Elibiary was a long string of extremist statements he had been making on Twitter, including talking about the inevitability of the return of an ISIS-style caliphate — tweets that were subsequently used by ISIS supporters for recruiting purposes.
But Elibiary has apparently not learned his lesson, engaging in a hate-filled anti-Christian rant on Twitter yesterday, even going so far to attack Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal as a “bottom feeder”:
— Mohamed Elibiary (@MohamedElibiary) January 28, 2015
Nor, as you’ll see below, is this the first time he has indulged in his anti-Christian bigotry.
Before revisiting his Twitter meltdown, perhaps it’s useful to revisit some of Elibiary’s greatest hits:
- Elibiary admitted that his mentor and long-time friend was none other than Hamas terrorist leader Shukri Abu Baker, who is currently serving a 65-year prison sentence.
- In 2003, Elibiary was listed as a board member for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Dallas chapter, which was founded by now-convicted Hamas operative Ghassan Elashi. In 2008, federal prosecutors declared in a federal court brief that “from its founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists.”
- In Dec 2004, Elibiary was a featured speaker at a Dallas rally honoring the Ayatollah Khomeini as a “Great Islamic Visionary,” an event the Dallas Morning News called a “disgrace.”
- Immediately after the Fort Hood massacre in November 2009, Dallas Morning News editor Rod Dreher recounted Elibiary’s strident defense of jihadist ideologue Sayyid Qutb, whom the 9/11 Commission identified as the chief architect of Al-Qaeda’s ideology.
- In April 2010, he published an op-ed at Fox News pleading with the Obama administration to not kill senior Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.
- In June 2010, he attacked the Supreme Court after they upheld the material support for terrorism statute in an op-ed for the Dallas Morning News.
- In June 2011, the IRS revoked the 501c3 tax-exempt status of Elibiary’s Freedom and Justice Foundation for failing to file the required IRS Form 990s over a period of several years, documents which would reveal the source of his organization’s funding.
- In October 2011, I reported exclusively here at PJ Media that Elibiary had downloaded sensitive documents by the Texas Dept. of Public Safety from a secure DHS database, and then unsuccessfully tried to shop them to the media claiming then-Gov. Rick Perry was running an “Islamophobic” operation. Despite multiple claims by top DHS officials that an internal investigation exonerated Elibiary, in Sept 2013 DHS admitted in response to the Judicial Watch FOIA request that no records related to any internal investigation existed, prompting members of Congress to claim DHS was engaged in a cover-up. Texas DPS, having conducted their own investigation, severed their relationship with Elibiary.
- After 30 million Egyptians took to the streets to remove Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi, leading to his ouster, Elibiary added a Muslim Brotherhood logo to his Twitter avatar in solidarity with the extremist Islamic group.
- In November 2013, Elibiary took to Twitter to announce that the U.S. was a shariah-compliant Islamic country.
So that provides some context for his hate-filled Twitter rant yesterday.
Elibiary began his meltdown by denouncing “guilt by association,” and then engaged in the very group scapegoating (“Christianist culture wars”) he had just condemned:
We don't assign collective guilt 2 whole groups of fellow Americans under our constitution & laws. #Chistianists culture wars are just that.
— Mohamed Elibiary (@MohamedElibiary) January 27, 2015
Then in a bizarre statement, he claimed that Islam is the driving force for the “Far Right” (presumably he means that hatred of the religion of Islam itself drives the “Far Right” — again another sweeping group indictment that he previously denounced):
— Mohamed Elibiary (@MohamedElibiary) January 28, 2015
He then launched into a rage about “Christianist subculture”:
— Mohamed Elibiary (@MohamedElibiary) January 27, 2015
— Mohamed Elibiary (@MohamedElibiary) January 27, 2015
— Mohamed Elibiary (@MohamedElibiary) January 27, 2015
“Christianist” is a slur invented by Leftist reactionaries to attack Christians who take their faith seriously and are politically involved. And yet if Elibiary’s co-conspirators at CAIR can denounce the use of the term “Islamist,” as they recently did, isn’t it equally bigoted and unfair to use the term “Christianist” to attack Elibiary’s perceived enemies?
But he continues, identifying “Christianist subculture” as a “problem” for Muslims, and presumably one that must be eradicated:
— Mohamed Elibiary (@MohamedElibiary) January 27, 2015
“Christianist” subculture is unAmerican:
— Mohamed Elibiary (@MohamedElibiary) January 27, 2015
And again the attack continued, as he demonized a large group he had just identified in the millions as hateful and xenophobic:
For majority in US, no matter xenophobia & hatefulness from this loud #Christianist subculture, we won't abandon our vision for this nation.
— Mohamed Elibiary (@MohamedElibiary) January 27, 2015
And demonstrating the complete lack of self-awareness of his own hypocrisy:
Fellow American #Patriots: If u find yourself gravitating towards a view that blames religion of Islam or Muslims broadly, then you're lost.
— Mohamed Elibiary (@MohamedElibiary) January 27, 2015
Mohamed, if you find yourself gravitating towards a view that blames “Christianist subculture” broadly, then you’re lost.
But don’t dare call him out on his hypocrisy!
Judging from the reaction on my TL, #Chistianists got irritated that I called their subculture unrepresentative of mainstream US Christians.
— Mohamed Elibiary (@MohamedElibiary) January 27, 2015
One is given to wonder what Elibiary’s reaction would be if someone were to simply modify his tweets to replace “Christianist subculture” with “American Islamist subculture.” Undoubtedly, he would froth at the mouth with rabid accusations of racism and “Islamophobia.”
This, however, is not remotely the first time that Christians have been the targets of Elibiary’s unbridled rage.
In September 2013, he engaged in a series of tweets attacking Egyptian Coptic Christians:
— Mohamed Elibiary (@MohamedElibiary) September 14, 2013
— Mohamed Elibiary (@MohamedElibiary) September 15, 2013
Which prompted this shocked response from a UK Coptic bishop:
— Bishop Angaelos (@BishopAngaelos) September 28, 2013
But Elibiary was back spewing anti-Christian hate again last April, attacking Coptic church leaders as immoral:
— Mohamed Elibiary (@MohamedElibiary) April 12, 2014
As I witnessed first-hand in Egypt last year, Elibiary’s Muslim Brotherhood allies sacked and burned down nearly 100 churches in August 2013 and launched an ongoing wave of terror targeting Copts and the government after the ouster of Morsi. During Morsi’s regime, attacks on Christians were commonplace, with the Muslim Brotherhood setting up torture chambers for Christian protesters right outside Morsi’s palace. When Christians were murdered in April 2013, a Muslim mob aided by Morsi’s police attacked the funeral service and mourners at the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo. So it’s no surprise that Christians overwhelmingly supported Morsi’s overthrow.
And the outrage of Coptic Christians is understandable when, despite all the contrary evidence, Elibiary tweets out this:
— Mohamed Elibiary (@MohamedElibiary) April 14, 2014
Clearly, it is long past time for Elibiary’s friends to stage a mental health intervention. And because he exhibits undeniable anti-Christian hatred and bigotry, he clearly has no place advising anyone in our government.
The African terror group Boko Haram has released an interview with their spokesman, Shaikh Abu Mus’ab Albarnawi, where he discusses the recent BH offensive in northern Nigeria, where reportedly 2,000 civilians were killed and the city of Baga and 16 surrounding villages were razed (English translation included):
See also my analysis from last month, “Nigeria Teeters on the Brink: 8 Terrifying Trends.”
Any of my regular readers here at PJ Media can attest, I am no fan of the FBI’s counter-terrorism programs. Recently, I’ve been writing about the FBI’s failures to catch “Known Wolf” terrorists – individuals who were already known to law enforcement prior to their acts of terror. So no one can accuse me of being an apologist for the bureau.
But an article yesterday in The Guardian entitled “Counter-terrorism is supposed to let us live without fear. Instead, it’s creating more of it” by two individuals currently promoting the screening of their film (T)ERROR at the Sundance International Film Festival falsely claims the FBI is engaged in a deliberate effort to entrap innocent American Muslims.
Here’s the case they make:
While making our film (T)ERROR, which tracks a single counter-terrorism sting operation over seven months, we realized that most people have serious misconceptions about FBI counter-terrorism efforts. They assume that informants infiltrate terrorist networks and then provide the FBI with information about those networks in order to stop terrorist plots from being carried out. That’s not true in the vast majority of domestic terrorism cases.
Since 9/11, as Human Rights Watch and others have documented, the FBI has routinely used paid informants not to capture existing terrorists, but to cultivate them. Through elaborate sting operations, informants are directed to spend months – sometimes years – building relationships with targets, stoking their anger and offering ideas and incentives that encourage them to engage in terrorist activity. And the moment a target takes a decisive step forward, crossing the line from aspirational to operational, the FBI swoops in to arrest him.
So they accuse the FBI of setting suspects up and then arresting them — entrapment. This “entrapment” claim is commonly repeated by defense attorneys and self-styled “civil rights” groups. In fact, that’s what the authors of The Guardian article explicitly say:
The cumulative effects of FBI surveillance and entrapment in communities of color have been devastating.
I’ll leave aside their “communities of color” smear, but there is one glaring problem with their entrapment claim: in no single jihadist-related terrorism trial since the 9/11 attacks has a federal court on ANY LEVEL found that the FBI engaged in entrapment. Many suspects have made the claim, but none have successfully argued it. In only one case I remember, that of Ahmadullah Niazi, did the Justice Department voluntarily drop an indictment because of the reliability of an informant.
Those who peddle these FBI entrapment claims have been found to regularly play fast and loose with data, such as describing terror conspirators who turn state’s evidence against their partners and are sentenced to jail for their roles in terror plots as “informants.”
Another tactic taken is to equate the involvement of an informant as a de facto case of entrapment, as do the authors of The Guardian article. They cite the arrest earlier this month of a Cincinnati-area man:
A recent example: on 14 January, the FBI announced that it had interrupted an Isis-inspired terrorist plot in the United States. Christopher Lee Cornell, a 20-year-old recent Muslim convert from Cincinnati, was allegedly plotting to attack the US Capitol with pipe bombs and gun down government officials.
But then they make a colossal leap with this non sequitur:
Cornell was arrested after purchasing two semiautomatic weapons from an Ohio gun store because the man that Cornell thought was his partner was actually an FBI informant.
So the reason he bought the weapons was because there was an informant? In the information made available so far, there’s no indication that’s the case. If the record of every single jihad-related terror case since 9/11 is any guide, it’s unlikely their claim will stand. One reason why these terrorism cases have universally withstood scrutiny by the federal courts are the extensive measures taken by the FBI to prevent entrapment.
As an example of how far the FBI will go to prevent someone from turning to terror, consider the case of 19-year-old Colorado woman Shannon Conley, who was sentenced last week to four years in prison. As the court record shows, the FBI repeatedly warned Conley over a period of months not to attempt to travel to Syria to join ISIS and even talked to her parents asking them to intervene. And yet she persisted in her plans and was arrested trying to board a plane bound for Turkey. Now her parents are saying “the terrorists have won” after her sentencing, blaming the federal government for prosecuting their daughter.
If anything, this administration has bent over backwards to accommodate the concerns that they are unfairly targeting Muslims, such as special rules for dealing with the Muslim community and conducting a wide-spread purge of counter-terrorism training materials at the request of Muslim organizations. Curiously, none of this is mentioned in The Guardian article.
Attorney General Eric Holder, hardly a right-wing neo-con “Islamophobe,” has directly challenged the claims that the FBI uses entrapment targeting the Muslim community, telling one Muslim legal group:
Those who characterize the FBI’s activities in this case as ‘entrapment’ simply do not have their facts straight or do not have a full understanding of the law.
And yet The Guardian regurgitates a number of howlers, such as this:
And on campuses across the country, Muslim student associations have banned discussions of politics, terrorism and the “war on terror.”
But Muslim Student Associations (MSA) have had no trouble at all discussing politics, terrorism and the “war on terror.” In fact, you can’t shut them up from talking about it. One topic you won’t hear addressed at MSA meetings, however, is the long litany of senior MSA leaders who have been convicted in terrorism cases.
In the absence of actual evidence, The Guardian authors have to resort to anecdotes, including this one:
After a recent screening of our film at a New York City mosque, a young African-American convert to Islam, sporting a brown full-body covering with matching hijab, confessed to us that she feels uncomfortable discussing aspects of her identity. She does not speak about her religious conversion in public, for fear of attracting or encouraging informants.
Yes, because wearing a brown full-body covering with a matching hijab, no one would ever know she’s a Muslim.
This is how laughably ridiculous those who peddle this false narrative have sunk. Perhaps a review of some of the jihad-related terror cases where FBI informants weren’t involved is warranted:
Beltway snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo
UNC-Chapel Hill vehicle jihadist Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar
Seattle Jewish Federation killer Naveed Afzal Haq
Little Rock killer Carlos Bledsoe (aka Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad)
Fort Hood killer Major Nidal Hasan
Would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad
Boston bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
Cross-country jihadist spree killer Ali Muhammad Brown
Undoubtedly, if FBI informants had been used in any of these cases to prevent their terror attacks, The Guardian authors, Islamic “civil rights” groups and their ilk would be crying “entrapment.”
New York Times Discovers Yemen’s ‘Death to America’ Houthi Rebels are Moderates and Possible U.S. Partners
The New York Times launched some weapons-grade stupidity on Sunday with an article by Rod Nordland and Eric Schmitt citing “experts” claiming that the Iranian-backed Houthi militias in Yemen that have swept though critical parts of the country, including the capital Sanaa, are not just moderates, but possible U.S. counter-terrorism partners.
Because of the ongoing Houthi offensive, Yemen’s information minister admitted last week that the government had lost effective control of the country.
JUST IN: Yemeni Info Minister @NadiaSakkaf tells me government control in Yemen is "almost non-existent". Intv airs 8pm CET // 2pm ET
— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) January 19, 2015
Thankfully, the Times is here to assure us that when the Houthis shout “Death to America” they really don’t mean it:
At first glance the official slogan and emblem of the Houthis, who are now the dominant force in Yemen, does not offer much hope to American policy makers.
It includes the words “Death to America, death to Israel, damnation to the Jews.” Houthis shout it when they march, wear it on arm patches, paint it on buildings and stick it onto their car windows. When pictured, those words are rendered in red, framed by “God is great” and “Victory to Islam” in green, on a white background.
Sometimes the red words are shown dripping blood.
But for all their harsh sloganeering, the Houthis may be a lot more moderate than it suggests, according to many diplomats and analysts who have followed them closely. They say it would be premature to dismiss them as Yemen’s Hezbollah, despite their alliance with Iran.
For reference purposes, here’s the slogan in question:
The logo of Yemen's triumphant Houthis: Allahu akbar Death to America Death to Israel Damn the Jews Victory to Islam pic.twitter.com/BOQSpAFCDD
— Oren Kessler (@OrenKessler) January 22, 2015
Ah, but we have nothing to fear, because they fight Al-Qaeda says the Pentagon:
On Wednesday, Michael G. Vickers, the Pentagon’s top intelligence policy official, noted that the Houthis’ dominance had been growing over the past several months as they expanded their control since last September, but he said that has not interfered with American missions. “The Houthis are anti-Al Qaeda, and we’ve been able to continue some of our counterterrorism operations against Al Qaeda in the past couple months,” Mr. Vickers said.
And they’re nothing like yet another Iranian proxy, Hezbollah, say the “experts”:
“The Houthis are not Hezbollah,” said Charles Schmitz, an expert on the group and a professor at Towson University, referring to the Iranian-supported group that dominates Lebanon and is actively fighting on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. “They are domestic, homegrown, and have very deep roots in Yemen, going back thousands of years.”
In fact, they could be U.S. counter-terrorism partners if they only dropped their “Death to America” sloganeering (!!) the “experts” continue:
April Alley, a senior analyst for the International Crisis Group in Sana, said: “Theoretically there is quite a bit of common ground in Yemen between the Houthis and the U.S., particularly when it comes to security issues and Al Qaeda. But so far it’s not been enough to overcome the obstacles. The Houthis have their own limits in which they can engage the Americans given the political narrative they have propagated.”
It should be noted that last week a U.S. Embassy vehicle carrying U.S. personnel was shot up at a Houthi checkpoint:
— Haykal Bafana (@BaFana3) January 20, 2015
And a Houthi checkpoint featuring the “Death to America” signs has been operating right outside the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa since September:
— Hisham Al-Omeisy (@omeisy) September 24, 2014
Another surreal sight: Houthi checkpoint with big sarkha sign ('death to America') on 40m road bang slap in front of US embassy #Yemen
— Peter Salisbury (@altoflacoblanco) September 24, 2014
And yet on Friday the White House said that the embassy will remain open:
WH spokesman Josh Earnest says US Embassy in Sanaa remains open; US monitoring situation closely #voaalert
— Luis Ramirez (@LuisVOA) January 23, 2015
One curious omission in the Times article, however, is that Obama hailed Yemen as one of his administration’s counter-terrorism successes back in September:
Note: President Obama's reference to counter-terror success in Yemen (Sept. 10) does not seem to be aging well http://t.co/rBxCpF0eqh
— Michael B. Kelley (@MichaelKelleyBI) January 14, 2015
So with Iran or Iranian proxies in charge of another Arab capital (Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus, Sanaa) we have nothing to fear, the New York Times is here to tell us.
And the Houthis take their place as acclaimed moderates in the U.S. foreign policy narrative bubble, along with the “largely secular” Muslim Brotherhood, the “vetted moderate” Syrian rebels, the “moderate elements” of Hezbollah (as cited by CIA Director John Brennan), and even “moderate” Al-Qaeda.
An Ohio man inspired by ISIS was arrested today for planning to target the U.S. Capitol with pipe bombs, and then to shoot anyone fleeing the building.
ABC News reports:
The FBI has arrested an Ohio man for allegedly plotting an ISIS-inspired attack on the U.S. Capitol, where he hoped to set off a series of bombs aimed at lawmakers, whom he allegedly considered enemies.
Christopher Lee Cornell, 20, of Green Township, was arrested today on charges of attempting to kill a U.S. government official, authorities said.
According to government documents, he allegedly planned to detonate pipe bombs at the national landmark and open fire on any employees and officials fleeing after the explosions.
The FBI first noticed Cornell several months ago after an informant notified the agency that Cornell was allegedly voicing support for violent “jihad” on Twitter accounts under the alias “Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah,” according to charging documents. In addition, Cornell allegedly posted statements, videos and other content expressing support for ISIS — the brutal terrorist group also known as ISIL — that is wreaking havoc in Iraq and Syria.
“I believe that we should just wage jihad under our own orders and plan attacks and everything,” Cornell allegedly wrote in an online message to the informant in August, according to the FBI. “I believe we should meet up and make our own group in alliance with the Islamic State here and plan operations ourselves.”
In the message, Cornell said that such attacks “already got a thumbs up” from radical cleric Anwar Awlaki “before his martyrdom.”
It looks like both his Facebook and Twitter accounts have already been deactivated.
We have a mugshot:
— WCPO (@WCPO) January 15, 2015
Here’s what purports to be a photo (presumably a high school pic, HT: B’emet Or):
May Allah realise our hero Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah pic.twitter.com/WxUIS16olL
— Abu jisr (@khilafajisr) January 14, 2015
And this looks like a picture taken during his arrest today:
— Dahboo7 (@dahboo7) January 15, 2015
This hits home for me for three reasons.
First, I have many friends and colleagues who work in the Capitol and the House and Senate office buildings.
Second, this suspect comes from Ohio, where I live. For years I’ve been writing about the problem of Islamic radicalization in my home state, including here at PJ Media. For several years I maintained a running blog with Ohio-related terrorism news.
Third, my colleague Steve Coughlin and I were at an event in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in February 2012 when Amine El-Khalifi was arrested heading towards the Visitor Center with what he thought was a suicide bomb strapped to himself. Fortunately, it was an FBI sting operation. As we left the event we noticed that Capitol Police were stationed about every 30 yards with M4 rifles at the ready. I keep my visitor’s badge from that day on my desk to remind me of how close I came to (potential) danger:
The deputy social media editor of The Daily Beast, Asawin Suebsaeng, has some profound thoughts on Cornell’s arrest:
guy trying to blow up the Capitol is from Ohio. the guy who wanted to kill Boehner? Ohio. WHEN WILL THE MODERATE OHIOANS SOMETHING SOMETHING
— Asawin Suebsaeng (@swin24) January 14, 2015
Yes, because he said he was going to kill people in the name of Ohio.
UPDATE: Here’s the criminal complaint.
The ISIS “Raqaa Media Office” has just published a new video in which one fighter promises to bring attacks to France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States (begins at approximately 0:56).
The first fighter concludes with:
Whoever was shocked and amazed must comprehend, the Muslims today have a loud and thundering voice, and possess heavy boots. They will have a statement that will cause the world to hear and understand the meaning of terrorism, and boots that will trample the idol of nationalism, destroy the idol of democracy and its falseness.
The second fighter calls for Muslims to rise up:
For the time has come to free yourself from the shackles of weakness and stand in the face of tyranny.
The third fighter rails against “the agents of the crusaders and the atheists, and the guardians of the Jews,” and talks about “the joys of the mujahidin on the occasion of the Islamic Khalifah announcement and their renewed pledge to the Imam.” He concludes by asking Muslims to pledge allegiance along with him by reciting the bayat.
Here’s the graphic that accompanied the announcement.
Largest Islamic Body in the World Calls for More Anti-Free Speech Laws in Wake of Charlie Hebdo Attack
Last week’s terror attack targeting French magazine Charlie Hebdo‘s office in Paris has sparked a global conversation about the nature of free speech, with the “Je Suis Charlie” hashtag in support of the murdered Charlie Hebdo staff going viral and becoming the most used hashtag in the history of Twitter.
But this afternoon, the UN representative for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ufuk Gokcen, was expressing another view with respect to free speech.
The OIC is comprised of the 57 Muslim-majority nations and the Palestinian Authority. They are the largest bloc at the UN, and when they meet on the head-of-state level, they literally speak for the Muslim world.
So it is noteworthy that after the Charlie Hebdo attack, Gokcen is now calling for more implementation of the OIC-sponsored UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 and the follow-up Rabat Plan of Action that would criminalize the very type of speech that Charlie Hebdo engaged in:
Charlie Hebdo attack&reactions underline critical imp. of renewed commitment to resolution 16/18&Rabat Plan of Action http://t.co/NoBXnzEKWg
— Ufuk Gokcen (@iktgokcen) January 12, 2015
The timing of Gokcen’s call couldn’t be more perfect.
Today, University of Tennessee law professor Robert Blitt (a colleague of our own Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds) had an oped published in USA Today calling out the OIC for its retrograde views on free speech and how they fuel Islamic extremism:
The OIC, whose member states range from moderate U.S. allies such as Jordan to adversaries such as Iran, describes itself as the world’s largest international body after the United Nations. For more than a decade, “the collective voice of the Muslim world” has spread the belief that any insult directed against the Muslim faith or its prophet demands absolute suppression. Quashing “defamation of Islam” is enshrined as a chief objective in the organization’s charter.
With countless internal resolutions, relentless lobbying of the international community and block voting on resolutions advocating a prohibition on defamation of religion at the U.N., the OIC continuously pushes to silence criticism of Islam.
Translated into practice inside Islamic nations and increasingly elsewhere, this toxic vision breeds contempt for freedom of religion and expression, justifies the killing of Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and casts a pall of self-censorship over academia and the arts.
By building the expectation that dissent or insult merits suppression, groups such as the OIC and the Arab League have emboldened extremists to take protection of Islam to the next level. With the most authoritative Muslim voices prepared to denounce violence but not to combat the idea that Islam should be immune from criticism, a meaningful response to counteract the resulting violence continues to be glaringly absent.
An OIC statement released after a 2011 Charlie Hebdo issue “guest-edited” by the prophet Mohammed typifies this troubling position: “Publication of the insulting cartoon … was an outrageous act of incitement and hatred and abuse of freedom of expression. … The publishers and editors of the Charlie Hebdo magazine must assume full responsibility for their … incitement of religious intolerance.”
As Professor Blitt notes in his oped, the OIC has been the international driving force behind the passage of Resolution 16/18, which was co-sponsored by Pakistan and the United States and passed in December 2011.
When passed, Resolution 16/18 was billed by the Obama administration as an improvement over previous “defamation of religion” resolutions. But the effort immediately came under fire from religious liberties and free speech experts:
In the view of veteran international religious liberty analyst and advocate Elizabeth Kendal resolution 16/18, “far from being a breakthrough for free speech … is actually more dangerous than” the religious defamation resolutions.
“Indeed, the strategic shift from defamation to incitement actually advances the OIC’s primary goal: the criminalization of criticism of Islam,” she wrote.
The OIC’s push to criminalize “defamation of Islam” goes back to the OIC’s 10 Year Plan of Action adopted in 2005. Under the section “Countering Islamophobia” (VII), the plan says:
3. Endeavor to have the United Nations adopt an international resolution to counter Islamophobia, and call upon all States to enact laws to counter it, including deterrent punishments.
In their published implementation plan for their 10 Year Plan of Action, they are more clear that combating “defamation of religion” is not what they were after, but rather criminalizing “Islamophobia”:
Which is effectively what they’ve accomplished with the generous assistance of the Obama administration. Just two months before the passage of Resolution 16/18, senior Justice Department officials were meeting with U.S. Islamic groups discussing that very thing.
In fact, in my annual “National Security ‘Not Top 10′ of 2011″ (no. 7) here at PJ Media, I noted the active cooperation of Hillary Clinton and the State Department in working with the OIC as part of their “Istanbul Process” to that end.
And in November 2012, when I reported here that U.S. Embassy in Jeddah Consul General Anne Casper was going to be addressing the OIC’s symposium on “defamation of Islam,” the OIC quickly scrubbed any reference to her appearance.
My colleague Stephen Coughlin has posted a video lecture outlining how the OIC’s efforts with respect to Resolution 16/18 are really rooted in Islamic law’s codes prohibiting blasphemy:
It’s hardly surprising that even after the Charlie Hebdo attack the OIC is not content to abandon their decade-long effort to criminalize “Islamophobia.” But, much as Professor Blitt has warned in his oped today, by doing so they are pushing the global Islamic community further away from the rest of the world.
A bizarre report from NBC News by Ayman Mohyeldin this morning broadcast during Meet the Press highlighted the city of Dearborn, Michigan, which has the highest Muslim population concentration of any city in America, as a beacon of American Muslim integration.
As Jeffrey Myers at Newsbusters observed, Mohyeldin blamed U.S. foreign policy for increased radicalization inside the Muslim community:
For some, radicalization and attacks against the U.S. stems from anger at American foreign policies and wars in the Middle East. While the overwhelming majority of muslims have successfully assimilated and integrated into U.S. society, the challenge remains to find individuals who may be on the fringes of the communities and are also alienated.
There are some curious omissions from Mohyeldin’s report that directly question his claims of successful assimilation and integration of Muslims in Dearborn.
For instance, last August The Intercept published an internal assessment by the National Counterterrorism Center showing that Dearborn — a town of less than 100,000 — had the second largest number of known terrorism suspects in the country behind New York City.
Needless to say, the Muslim community in Dearborn expressed outrage at the NCTC’s data analysis. And despite the fact the NCTC report was the Obama administration’s own document and the finding was the expression of raw data, Detroit U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade joined local activists at a news conference to denounce those findings.
12:46. I think this is a good note to end things on. Thanks for joining. Feel free to follow my updates on Twitter.
May the memory of the victims be blessed – יהי זכרם ברוך –and may the people of France be comforted during this period of mourning
— David Roet (@DavidRoet) January 9, 2015
— El_Grillo (@El_Grillo1) January 9, 2015
12:34p. The establishment media has not crowned itself in glory this week.
— JWF (@JammieWF) January 9, 2015
— FBI (@FBI) January 9, 2015
Horrific reports are coming out of Nigeria about a Boko Haram attack on the town of Baga in Borno State following their seizure of a neighboring military base on Saturday.
BBC is reporting:
Nigeria’s militant Islamists have carried out a second attack on the key north-eastern town of Baga, an official has told the BBC.
Boko Haram fighters burnt down almost the entire town on Wednesday, after over-running a military base on Saturday, Musa Alhaji Bukar said.
Bodies lay strewn on Baga’s streets, amid fears that some 2,000 people had been killed in the raids, he added.
Boko Haram launched a military campaign in 2009 to create an Islamic state.
It has taken control of many towns and villages in north-eastern Nigeria in the last year.
The conflict has displaced at least 1.5 million people, while more than 2,000 were killed last year.
Earlier today Bridget Johnson reported here at PJ Media about a message posted by Boko Haram on Monday threatening Cameroon.
Last month I also reported on Boko Haram’s escalating attacks, which now threaten the entire country on the verge of presidential elections.
The loss of life in Baga and Boko Haram’s control over 70 percent of Borno State will undoubtedly require greater action by the Nigerian government and possibly greater intervention from neighboring Chad and Cameroon.
I will update this post as new information becomes available.
More news reports are coming out of Nigeria regarding the Boko Haram attack on the city of Baga and surrounding areas in Borno State.
AFP is reporting that 16 villages have been razed to the ground and tens of thousands displaced:
Boko Haram razed at least 16 towns and villages in a renewed assault after capturing a key military base in restive northeast Nigeria at the weekend, local officials said on Thursday.
Heavy casualties were feared in the attacks on Wednesday in the remote north of Borno state, according to local sources, but there was no independent corroboration of the figures cited.
Musa Bukar, head of the Kukawa local government area, said: “They (Boko Haram) burnt to the ground all the 16 towns and villages, including Baga, Doron-Baga, Mile 4, Mile 3, Kauyen Kuros and Bunduram.”
Abubakar Gamandi, head of Borno’s fish traders union and a Baga native, also confirmed the attacks, adding that hundreds of people who fled were trapped on islands on Lake Chad.
NBC News reports:
More than 2,000 people are unaccounted for after radical Islamist sect Boko Haram torched more than 10 towns and villages in Nigeria, a local lawmaker told NBC News. Ahmed Zanna, a senator for Borno state where the attack happened, said the militants razed the town of Baga as well as “10-to-20″ other communities in the country’s rural northeast over the past five days. “These towns are just gone, burned down,” he told NBC News via telephone. “The whole area is covered in bodies.”
Zanna said he had spoken to residents who fled the towns. They reported that the spree had been ongoing since Boko Haram overran a nearby military base Saturday. During the days-long assault, the militants chased people out of Baga before returning to kill those left and torch the buildings to the ground, according to survivors who contacted Zanna. Some of those who survived fled on foot the 100 miles south to Maidurguri.
The government’s response to this massacre will be worth watching. Presidential elections are scheduled for Feb. 14th, and criticism of incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan is mounting. Thus, Jonathan’s government will be eager to suppress information about this attack.
Boko Haram’s response will need to be followed as well. After routing Nigerian government forces at the military base outside of Baga, they are now in effective control of Borno State, which borders Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
John Kerry’s ‘Moderate’ French Imam Threatened Would-Be Cartoonists Who Mocked Mohammed During Danish Cartoon Crisis
Earlier today Bridget Johnson here at PJ Media noted John Kerry’s shout-out to Dalil Boubakeur, the head of the French Muslim Council and one of the largest mosques in Paris. Boubakeur told Le Figaro that today’s attack targeting those who worked for the French magazine Charlie Hebdo was “a thunderous declaration of war.”
Bridget noted that Kerry hailed “the French iman who today called the slain journalists martyrs for liberty.”
Er, just one problem.
As noted earlier today by French bloggers, in 2006 at the height of the Danish Cartoon crisis, Boubakeur had published an article denouncing the cartoons and concluded by issuing a warning to all those — including Charlie Hebdo — who would publish caricatures of Mohammed, saying: “He who sows the whirlwind shall reap the whirlwind.”
Undoubtedly, Boubakeur is yet another graduate of the State Department’s vaunted “vetted moderate” program.
This incident is reminiscent of the Huffington Post promoting last August a so-called “fatwa against terrorism” issued after 9/11 that was signed by individuals who had been designated terrorists by the U.S. government.
A similar fatwa was issued in the U.S. in 2005 by the Fiqh Council of North America, whose signatories included my former neighbor, Salah Sultan, who is currently in prison in Egypt on terrorism charges and has a long history of openly supporting terrorism.
The moral of the story is: beware of self-proclaimed “moderates” — especially ones promoted by the Obama administration — following terror attacks.
Back in October after two separate terror attacks in Canada, I coined the term “Known Wolf Syndrome” since, as I noted, in many of these terror cases the suspects are already known to law enforcement authorities. I recounted a number of similar instances of U.S. domestic terrorism.
I noted the same problem again last month when Sheikh Haron took hostages in a chocolate shop in downtown Sydney, Australia.
Now, early reports from the Paris attack earlier today are indicating that one of the suspects is yet another “known wolf” who tried to send men to fight in Iraq:
One of the alleged assailants, K. Sherif, is already well known to the police. He was tried in 2005 for being part of a chain of sending jihadists in Iraq, nicknamed “the Iraqi chain of the 19th district of Paris.” With a dozen cronies, he would have led a dozen young people from fighting in Iraq between 2003 and 2005. He was arrested in 2005, when he was preparing himself from Iraq. (Google Translate)
We’ll wait to see if the other two suspects end up previously known to authorities as well.
— John Schindler (@20committee) January 7, 2015
Paris Shooters Identified as brothers Said K and Cherif K, and Amid M from identity card found in the abandoned car http://t.co/VlvGxl6nyI
— El_Grillo (@El_Grillo1) January 7, 2015
Cherif Kouachi convicted in 2008 of terrorism charges for helping funnel fighters to Iraq's insurgency & sentenced to 18 months in prison.
— Roddy Mansfield (@roddymansfield) January 7, 2015
12:07p: I’m going to wrap things up here for the moment. I’ll start a new post if the situation warrants. Thanks for tuning in.
12:00n: UK media outdoing themselves today
Telegraph headline on Charlie Hebdo jihad massacre story: "France faces rising tide of Islamophobia" http://t.co/Zfofu8KD4y The UK is insane
— Robert Spencer (@jihadwatchRS) January 7, 2015
FT: Charlie Hebdo was drunk and wearing a short skirt https://t.co/FDSr82rCDv
— Sam Bowman (@s8mb) January 7, 2015
11:49a: A view of the crowd gathering in Paris
— News This Second (@NewsThisSecond) January 7, 2015
11:45a: Another reminder about last month’s terror attacks in France
— VICE News (@vicenews) January 7, 2015
Dutch journalist Frederike Geerdink, who covers Kurdish affairs, had her home raided and was arrested this morning in Turkey and accused of “propaganda for a terrorist organization,” she announced on Twitter:
terrorism police just searched my house, team of 8 guys. they take me to the station now. charge: 'propaganda for terrorist organization'
— Frederike Geerdink (@fgeerdink) January 6, 2015
This arrest comes as Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders visited Istanbul today:
— ilhan tanir (@WashingtonPoint) January 6, 2015
What makes Geerdink’s arrest so ironic is that she has openly dismissed the creeping authoritarianism in Turkey in recent years, such as this tweet in 2012:
Under the rule of Islamist president Recep Erdogan, Turkey has grown increasingly tyrannical, seen especially in the targeting of journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists has noted special concern for the press in Turkey, and even the New York Times has noted that Turkey has become the world’s leading “jailhouse of journalists.”
Perhaps even more troubling is that President Obama has identified Erdogan as one of his top 5 international friends. It will be interesting if the State Department gets asked about Geerdink’s arrest today.
UPDATE: The Turkish government has given its official reason for detaining Geerdink – comments on Twitter:
— ilhan tanir (@WashingtonPoint) January 6, 2015
— Amberin Zaman (@amberinzaman) January 6, 2015
Last Saturday I broke the story here at PJ Media that Congressman Andre Carson — one of only two Muslim congressmen — had been scheduled to speak at a panel at the Muslim American Society (MAS) – Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) annual convention held last weekend in Chicago. I noted that the panel included Mazen Mokhtar, who, as federal agents have testified in federal court, helped run an Al-Qaeda website that raised money for the Taliban.
At the time, Carson’s scheduled appearance on the panel was noted on the convention’s online program. Within the past 48 hours, his name was removed from the website.
Now you see him:
With the world descending into chaos driven in no small measure by the incoherent, contradictory and frequently non-existent foreign policy of the Obama administration, it was difficult this year to narrow the field for this year’s biggest national security blunders. The task seemed so formidable, I nearly abandoned the endeavor.
But undaunted, I present to you the National Security “Not Top 10” of 2014, in no particular order.
1) Befriending “moderate Al-Qaeda” in Syria:
There are some ideas so at war with reason and reality they can only exist in the fetid Potomac fever swamps of DC think tanks and the foreign policy community. Such was the case in January when three of the best and brightest from those ranks published an article in Foreign Affairs (the same publication that in 2007 brought us the “Moderate Muslim Brotherhood”) contending that the US needed to “befriend” the Syrian jihadist group Ahrar al-Sham as some kind of counter to more extreme jihadist groups, like ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra. The precedent they cited was the US failure to designate the Taliban (!!!) after 9/11.
Mind you, at the time they wrote this, one of Ahrar al-Sham’s top leaders was a lieutenant for Al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri who openly declared himself a member of Al-Qaeda. After most of their leadership was wiped out in a bombing in September, they gravitated closer to the jihadist groups they were supposed to counter and their positions have been bombed by the US – much to the consternation of other “vetted moderate” rebel groups. So ridiculous was their proposition that the original subtitle of their article, “An Al-Qaeda Affiliate Worth Befriending,” was changed online to “An Al-Qaeda-Linked Group Worth Befriending” in the hopes of minimizing the absurdity of their case.
2) Obama administration deploys three hashtag divisions in response to Russian invasion of Ukraine.
As Ukrainians made their bid to free themselves from Russia’s interference, Putin responded by deploying tanks and troops into Ukraine in violation of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. Obama’s rejoinder was to give a speech and to deploy three divisions of State Department employees all armed with a #UnitedForUkraine hashtag. Hilarity ensued as the Russian Foreign Ministry counterattacked by hijacking the hashtag, prompting State Department spox Jen Psaki to decry, “Let’s hope the Kremlin will live by the promise of hashtag,” leaving many asking: Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.
3) Obama: ISIS is the “JV team.”
In January President Obama sat down for an interview with the New Yorker, and when asked about ISIS gains in Iraq, he likened them to a JV team, saying “The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.” Those words came back to haunt him as ISIS surged in both Syria and Iraq, particularly when Obama authorized missile strikes against ISIS in August. Even then Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken defended the president’s “JV team” remark, saying they didn’t pose the threat to America as much as Al-Qaeda. A few week later, the Washington Post noted the attempts to spin the president’s statement. By September, Obama laughably claimed in an interview on Meet the Press that he wasn’t talking about ISIS in his New Yorker interview. But even the notoriously biased Politifact rated his walk-back as “false” and two weeks ago Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler branded Obama’s “JV team” spin as “the lie of the year.”
A remarkable report by Anne Barnard of the New York Times this weekend confirms my multiple reports here at PJ Media about the increased alliance between the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) and al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra.
As Barnard reports:
In northern and eastern Syria, where Mr. Assad’s opponents won early victories and once dreamed of building self-government, the nationalist rebel groups calling themselves the Free Syrian Army are forced to operate under the extremists’ umbrellas, to go underground or to flee, according to Syrian insurgents, activists and two top commanders of the American-financed F.S.A. groups.
Two weeks ago I reported that Jabhat al-Nusra had used U.S. TOW anti-tank missiles in the rebels’ seizure of the Syrian Army’s base in Wadi al-Deif. The terror group posted a video showing the use of the TOW missiles in the battle (at ~3:50):
Nusra fans on Twitter were also noting the U.S. missiles being used:
— Muhajiri Shaam (@AbuMohammed_MS) December 15, 2014
Now Barnard confirms that FSA elements were fighting at Wadi al-Deif under the direction and/or control of Jabhat al-Nusra:
The fall of the army base at Wadi al-Deif, which straddles an important supply route in Idlib Province, proved the Nusra Front’s dominance, they said. Other insurgents had long besieged the base without victory. Nusra succeeded after seizing much of the province from Harakat Hazm and the Syrian Revolutionaries Front, two of several groups that until recently, American officials were calling the opposition’s new hope [...]
How exactly the Wadi al-Deif battle unfolded remains murky, with different commanders giving different versions. But reports and images from the operation make two things clear: antitank missiles were used, and Nusra claimed the victory. That means that the American-backed fighters could advance only by working with the Nusra Front, which the United States government lists as a terrorist group, or that they have lost the weapons to the Nusra fighters, effectively joined the group or been forced to follow its orders.
One commander of a group that received antitank missiles said that some F.S.A. fighters were forced to operate them in the battle on behalf of the Nusra Front, which had captured them from American-backed groups — a turn of events that he worried would lead the United States to cut off support [...]
Abu Kumayt, a fighter with the Syrian Revolutionaries Front who said he fought in the battle under cover, gave a slightly different version. He said that groups with the antitank missiles fought alongside Nusra fighters and under their command — but that only Nusra and its Islamist ally Ahrar al-Sham were allowed to enter the base when it fell. Nusra, he said, lets groups vetted by the United States keep the appearance of independence, so that they will continue to receive American supplies.
Earlier this month I noted reports from the Los Angeles Times and McClatchy that U.S.-backed units trained under a covert CIA program were openly operating with Nusra in southern Syria while other “vetted moderate” groups who had received heavy weaponry from the U.S. were surrendering their weapons to Nusra or delivering them to another hardcore jihadist group, Ahrar al-Sham.
Perhaps even more worrying is the $500 million in weapons that the FSA has surrendered to ISIS and admissions by FSA commanders that they are operating with both Nusra and ISIS. And last week a German journalist who spent 10 days embedded with ISIS in Iraq and Syria told France24 that ISIS is obtaining weapons supplied by Western governments and being sold by the FSA:
Todenhofer went on to say that the IS militants are being armed by the West – if only indirectly – as Western moves to arm moderate Syrian rebels have backfired.
“They buy the weapons that we give to the Free Syrian Army, so they get Western weapons – they get French weapons … I saw German weapons, I saw American weapons,” he said.
“The best seller of weapons is the Free Syrian Army, which is financed by NATO, financed probably also by France, but at least by the United States.”
So it is no wonder that the administration is openly ditching the FSA.
Muslim Congressman’s Ferguson Panel at Chicago Islamic Convention Features Al-Qaeda Webmaster, Taliban Fundraiser
UPDATE: Rep. Carson responds to this article. See the update, “Congressman Walks Back Appearance at Islamic Terror Group’s Chicago Convention.”
Congressman Andre Carson found himself in strange company Saturday evening when he was scheduled to be featured on a panel with a known Al-Qaeda webmaster and Taliban fundraiser, Mazen Mokhtar, during the just-concluded 2014 Muslim American Society/Islamic Circle of North America (MAS/ICNA) 2014 convention held in Chicago.
The panel was titled “Ferguson is our issue: We Can’t Breath.”
Here’s a promotional video of the three-day event:
One attendee tweeted that the joint Carson/Mokhtar panel was the “most important session” of the convention:
Mokhtar is presumably well-known to Carson, one of two sitting Muslim members of Congress, since Mokhtar is well-known to the FBI.
In 2004, Mokhtar was named in a federal affidavit in the case of a UK-based Al-Qaeda website that raised money for the Taliban and other terrorist organizations.
According to the Washington Post:
Meanwhile, a New Jersey man is under investigation for having helped a British computer specialist, also arrested in London this week, allegedly solicit funds for a terrorist group by creating and operating an exact replica of the British man’s Web site.
Mazen Mokhtar, an Egyptian-born imam and political activist, operated a Web site identified in an affidavit unsealed Friday by the U.S. attorney’s office in Connecticut. The Web site solicited funds for the Taliban and Chechen mujaheddin, according to the affidavit. It is an exact replica of Web sites operated by Babar Ahmad, who was arrested in England on a U.S. extradition warrant this week.
The affidavit said the New Jersey home of the mirror Web site operator, identified on a Web site as Mokhtar, was searched in the recent past and that copies of Azzam Publications sites, operated by Ahmad, were found on Mokhtar’s computer’s hard drive and files.
Officials at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, which is leading the investigation, declined yesterday to comment on Mokhtar or the New Jersey investigation.
A CNN report (now removed from their website) added:
Federal officials are investigating a man accused of running Web sites that are exact replicas of those used to solicit funds for the Taliban and Chechen mujahedeen, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday by the U.S. attorney’s office in New Haven, Connecticut.
Law enforcement sources identified the man as Mazen Mokhtar, 36, of New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Those sources said Mokhtar is the “specific individual who resides in the United States” referred to in the affidavit as working with Babar Ahmad to solicit funds for the “blocked organizations … in an effort to support their goals.”
Predictably, when Mokhtar’s name surfaced in the investigation, the Muslim community rallied around him and the media began pushing the “moderate Islamic cleric” narrative.
In fact, the accusations by federal law enforcement authorities have barely made a dent in Mokhtar’s rise to prominence in the Islamic community.
Mokhtar currently serves as the executive director of the national MAS. A 2004 Chicago Tribune investigative report, published just a month after Mokhtar was named in the federal affidavit, noted that MAS was founded by Muslim Brotherhood members to conceal their ties to the Egyptian Islamic group.
In 2007, federal prosecutors described the group in a federal court filing saying that MAS was “founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States”:
Congressman Carson is not without his own controversy. While speaking to a 2012 ICNA convention, Carson told attendees that American schools will never be innovative until they become modeled after the Islamic education system.
Carson’s fellow Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison, is not without his own controversy. In 2012, I noted here at PJ Media Ellison’s long entanglement with Muslim Brotherhood front groups and Islamic organizations identified in federal court as fronts for foreign terrorist organizations, with even his hajj trip to Mecca being paid for by MAS to the tune of $13,500.
Fresno Mosque Christmas Day Attack Turns Out Not as Police, Media, ‘Islamophobia’ Grievance Industry Expect
A vandalism attack on the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno on Christmas Day was immediately branded by Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer as a “hate crime,” and the “Islamophobia” grievance industry began to gear up in response. Now that a suspect has been arrested, the narrative is quickly collapsing.
This video report by KSEE24 describes the damage done to the mosque:
But police announced today that the suspect arrested in the attack is 28-year-old Asif Mohammad Khan, who, according to news reports, is a Muslim who used to attend the mosque and did the attack in response to bullying by some in the mosque.
In response, Dyer has quickly had to walk back his knee-jerk “hate crime” talk.
According to the Associated Press:
In the search for a suspect, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer had said that the broken windows and bleach poured on an American flag inside the Islamic center appeared to be a hate crime. On Saturday, Dyer said that investigators interviewed Khan, and their theory has changed. “It was obviously not as we thought,” said Dyer, adding that police will let FBI agents decide whether hate-crime charges are warranted.
Khan confessed, telling officers he was upset with people at the Islamic center for talking down or bullying him, Dyer said.
Remarkably, a member of Khan’s family was allowed to speak at the police news conference to explain his supposed mental illness.
This case of premature “Islamophobia” is reminiscent of the July 2010 arson at a Marietta, Georgia, mosque that was quickly deemed by the grievance industry as a clear case of “Islamophobia” driven by “anti-Muslim” sentiment and brought demands for immediate DOJ and FBI intervention by CAIR and the other usual suspects.
Calls for widespread cultural sensitivity training, “interfaith” outreach, and candlelight vigils were all on the agenda of national Islamic organizations that held a press conference in the wake of the Marietta mosque fire:
Fire official are still not calling the blaze that started inside the mosque around 11:30 p.m. Monday night a hate crime, but mosque officials and the vice president of the Islamic Circle of North America are fearing that it is an act of “Islamophobia.”
Naeem Baig, the vice president of ICNA, was at Wednesday’s press conference and he spoke out against anti-Islamic sentiments and acts.
“Islamic Circle of North America feels very strongly that these incidents of Islamophobia are on the rise in our country,” Baig said. “It is very sad to see that just a day after we celebrated Independence Day on the Fourth of July, the very next day, on the fifth of July, somebody came and decided to destroy this property, a house of worship. This is not what America is.”
But Assistant Fire Chief Scott Tucker said his department does not want to classify the arson as a hate crime until it can talk to a suspect and confirm a motive.
“I look at this fire and I see it as very similar to other fires,” Tucker said. “I don’t think there’s anything significantly different … Until we figure out the motive, we’re going to work this fire just like it was a normal fire.”
Not much was said, however, after it turned out that the fire was set by a member of the mosque, nor were any apologies issued to the non-Muslim community that the Islamic organizations unjustly tarnished with a broad brush.
As much can be expected in this case.
A claim that a jihadist from Minneapolis has been killed in the fighting surrounding the city of Kobane is currently circulating on Twitter.
These two tweets appeared yesterday:
Allahu Akbar, a young Somali brother I used to know back in Minnesota got Martyred in Kobane. His older brother is with me. Taqabalahu llaah
— Mujahid Miski (@Muhajir_1436_) December 21, 2014
The bro who got Shahadah in Kobane is Yusuf from Minneapolis, Minnesota. His brother is Ahmed Bashi he's with me, he says Salams & make Dua.
— Mujahid Miski (@Muhajir_1436_) December 21, 2014
Earlier this year two men from the Twin Cities, Abdiraaman Muhumad and Douglas McCain, were reported killed. And in late August I reported here at PJ Media on a video claiming another three Americans had been killed (thought not identifying them).
If yesterday’s report is correct, this would represent yet another loss in a long line of jihadist recruits from the Twin Cities.
More than 20 men from Minneapolis joined up in 2007 and 2008 to fight with Al-Shabaab in Somalia. More have left since to fight with various jihadist groups in Syria.
The problem of radicalization in the Somali community in the Twin Cities is a topic I’ve been reporting on since 2007 – nearly a year before other media outlets – when I reported on a recruiting and fundraising meeting in Minneapolis where the first round of jihadists, including the first American suicide bomber, were recruited.
In my previous posts on assassin Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who murdered two New York Police Department officers on Saturday, I noted that he had posted on Facebook a page of the Quran with a notorious verse calling on Muslims to “strike terror into the [hearts of] the enemies of Allah,” and another post about a fight he recently engaged in with an Atlanta panhandler when he discovered the panhandler was a “Muslim too.”
But an Instagram message posted by Brinsley during Ramadan five months ago may indicate that he visited one of America’s most terror-tied mosques:
Responding to a comment on his message, he notes that he is headed to “Al-Farooq Tomorrow inshallah.” His social media traffic indicates that he transited from Atlanta, Baltimore and Brooklyn on a regular basis.
If this reference by the cop killer was from Brooklyn (which is hard to discern since his Instagram account has been taken down), it may indicate that he was going to visit Masjid Al-Farooq in Brooklyn.
Al-Farooq’s long history of terror support goes back more than 20 years, when the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was hatched by members. One imam from the early 1990s, when Al-Farooq was a hub of the nascent Al-Qaeda and was hosting Al-Qaeda co-founder Abdullah Azzam, was Fawaz Damra, who was charged, convicted and later deported for lying to immigration officials about his terror ties when he applied for U.S. citizenship.
Another Al-Farooq imam, Gulshair Shukrijumah, was not only a regular translator for the Blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, but his son, Adnan, became a top Al-Qaeda operative and was killed in a gun battle with Pakistani intelligence just a few weeks ago.
Yet another mosque official, Sheikh Mohammed al-Moayad, was charged in 2003 with using the mosque as a front to raise $20 million for Al-Qaeda. At the time, the New York Times noted the mosque’s extensive connections to terrorism.
It remains to be seen if the Brooklyn Al-Farooq mosque is the one referred to in Brinsley’s Instagram post. If so, it will be yet another connection that NYPD officials will need to examine as they investigate the cold-blooded murder of their two colleagues.
NYPD Cop Killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley Started Fight with Atlanta Panhandler, Discovered He Was ‘Muslim Too’
Following up on my previous post about cop killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley’s Facebook post citing a Quranic verse about “striking terror into their hearts,” there is another post from his now-defunct Facebook page worthy of note.
In November, while he was apparently in Atlanta, Brinsley posted that he had got into a fight with a panhandler. He notes that after he stopped the fight he found out the panhandler was a “Muslim too” and the pair, according to his own account, went to a bar for a drink.
Also, it appears that Brinsley might have visited a terror-tied Brooklyn mosque.
As news begins to trickle out on Ismaaiyl Brinsley, the shooter who murdered two NYPD cops today execution-style, it has been discovered that Brinsley posted on his Facebook account a page of the Quran with a notorious verse calling for waging terror on Allah’s enemies.
Quran 8:60 says:
Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know. Whatever ye shall spend in the cause of Allah, shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly.
The title for Suran 8 is “Al-Anfal,” “The Spoils of War.” A segment of this same verse is used by the Muslim Brotherhood in their logo directly beneath the two swords, “And make ready…”:
Another image from what appears to be his now deactivated Instagram account from five months ago shows him wishing viewers an “Eid Mubarak” during Ramadan, as well as another image of a burning American flag.
NYPD Cop Killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley Started Fight With Atlanta Panhandler, Discovered He Was “Muslim Too”
With the hostage situation resolved — hopefully with no innocent lives lost (reports just coming in – UPDATE: Reports say that one hostage as well as the gunman are dead) — and the release of the name of the hostage taker, Iranian-born Islamic cleric Man Monis aka Shiekh Haron, this seems to be yet another case of what I termed here at PJ Media several weeks ago as “Known Wolf Syndrome.”
In that article, following two separate terror attacks in Canada in which the suspects were already well-known to authorities, I noted that in the U.S., too, in many of the domestic terrorism cases the culprits had already been identified to law enforcement as problems. In the present case, not only was the suspect well-known, but he was out on bail on murder charges related to the stabbing and setting on fire of his ex-wife, with whom he was in a heated custody dispute.
Monis came to Australia in 1996 from Iran and his immigration status was that of political refugee. He has since had other well-known run-ins with law enforcement. In 2009, he sent a series of hate messages, which he deemed as “flowers of advice,” to the families of Australian military members who had been killed in action. He likened their deaths to the deaths of Hitler’s soldiers, as well as to families of Australian victims of international terrorism attacks. He was given 300 hours of community service.
In another case, Monis was charged with 50 counts of sexual assault, where it was claimed that he lured victims in and assaulted them claiming it was a “spiritual healing technique.”
We’ll undoubtedly learn more in the days to come about the intentions and motives of the suspect in the case. The evidence at hand clearly indicates that Monis was another example of the two-faced Islamic cleric. In this case, Monis claimed that he was “an Australian who wanted a safe future for our country” (HT: Stewart Bell) while simultaneously — and openly — hating the very country that gave him refuge.
Yet again, we have a case in the West in which a domestic terrorist was well-known to law enforcement authorities and yet action sufficient to prevent the tragedy at hand was never taken despite the opportunity to do so (in this instance, he was out on bail).
Nonetheless, this will be yet another case where so-called terrorism “experts” will be trotted out by the media and political officials to claim that Monis was a case of “lone wolf syndrome.” Or that his actions were entirely unpredictable, and the government will need more money for terrorism programs that won’t work, and for outreach to the very extremists who continue to murder, rape, and maim innocents. And the “voxsplaining” has begun, distancing the suspect from any known extremist group.
Earlier this month I reported here at PJ Media that U.S.-backed Syrian rebel groups were allying with Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria, in the south, while others were surrendering their weapons to the terror group in the north.
Now a report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights indicates that Jabhat al-Nusra is using TOW anti-tank missiles, which had previously been supplied by the CIA to “vetted moderates” groups, in an assault on a Syrian army position in the north (HT: Zaid Benjamin):
Idlib province: No less than 15 soldiers in regime forces were killed by an attack by Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic fighters on their bastions in Wadi al-Deif and al-Hamdia camps, while no less than 8 fighters from the other side were killed during the clashes in the area, Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic battalions have taken over the checkpoints of ” al-Za’lan, al-Raii, al-Rab’an ” around the camps. Jabhat al-Nusra devastated a tank for regime forces around Wadi al-Deif camp with an American Tao [sic] missile.
A report last month indicated that the Syrian Revolutionaries Front and Harakat Hazm — both U.S.-backed and supplied by the CIA with TOW missiles — had surrendered or abandoned their weapons to Jabhat al-Nusra.
For months I’ve been reporting here at PJ Media about the ongoing cooperation between US-backed “vetted moderate” Syrian rebel units and designated terrorist groups ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria. This includes U.S.-backed rebel units who have defected wholesale to ISIS and Al-Qaeda.
Despite multiple reports of this cooperation, in September the congressional GOP leadership jumped on board with Obama’s proposal to spend an additional $500 million to arm and train the “vetted moderates” just weeks before the Obama administration abandoned the Free Syrian Army that had been the primary beneficiary of U.S. support for the past three years.
Now reports this weekend indicate growing cooperation between U.S.-backed rebels and Jabhat al-Nusra operating in southern Syria.
According to the LA Times:
Opposition activists reported intensified government bombardment in and around Sheik Maskin and the arrival of battle-tested loyalist reinforcements.
Fighting along with U.S.-backed rebels were elements of Al Nusra Front, the official Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria.
In a Facebook posting, Al Nusra supporters reported “vicious battles” in the Sheik Maskin area. Earlier posts also eulogized a prominent Al Nusra commander, Abu Humam Jazrawi, who was killed in the fighting.
Al Nusra’s participation illustrates how Western-supported rebel groups often cooperate with the Al Qaeda franchise, though both sides try to play down the extent of coordination. Recent clashes between Al Nusra Front and U.S.-backed rebels in northwestern Syria do not appear to have broken the de facto alliance between the Al Qaeda affiliate and West-backed fighters in the south. (emphasis added)
Meanwhile, in northern Syria as “vetted moderate” groups were forming an umbrella with hardcore jihadist groups, such as Ahrar al-Sham, other U.S.-backed units were surrendering to Jabhat al-Nusra (a trend I noted last month) and turning over their CIA-provided arms to Ahrar al-Sham, McClatchy reports:
On Friday, as the groups were meeting here, the Nusra Front stormed the bases of two moderate rebel groups in Syria’s north: the Ansar Brigades in Idlib and the Haqq Front in Hama. The two groups, both of which were receiving U.S. support through a covert CIA program, surrendered to Nusra, delivered their weapons to Ahrar al Sham and returned to their homes. (emphasis added)
And today Syria analyst Aron Lund noted that the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army signed an agreement last week with Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham for the Qalamoun area near the Lebanese border guaranteeing the imposition of sharia and creating a mutual defense pact.
The “vetted moderate” follies continue.
Earlier this month I reported here at PJ Media on the surrender and defections of U.S.-backed Syrian rebel troops to Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate), most notably the Syrian Revolutionaries Front, which the DC foreign policy establishment was hailing as “the West’s best fighting chance against Syria’s Islamist armies,” and Harkat al-Hazm, the first group to receive heavy weaponry from the U.S. earlier this year.
Now Mona Mahmood of the Guardian reports that elements of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) are defecting to ISIS:
US air strikes in Syria are encouraging anti-regime fighters to forge alliances with or even defect to Islamic State (Isis), according to a series of interviews conducted by the Guardian.
Fighters from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Islamic military groups are joining forces with Isis, which has gained control of swaths of Syria and Iraq and has beheaded six western hostages in the past few months.
Some brigades have transferred their allegiance, while others are forming tactical alliances or truces. Support among civilians also appears to be growing in some areas as a result of resentment over US-led military action.
“Isis now is like a magnet that attracts large numbers of Muslims,” said Abu Talha, who defected from the FSA a few months ago and is now in negotiations with other fighters from groups such as the al-Nusra Front to follow suit.
As the article notes, rebels perceive the U.S. airstrikes against ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra as a “war on Islam”:
[FSA fighter Murad] and his fellow fighters were awaiting the arrival of Isis militants in Homs, he added. “The moment Isis fighters touch the soil of the Homs countryside, we will be the first to fight with them at the front. This [US-led] military coalition is not against Isis, it is against entire Islam.”
This sentiment is hardly aberrant among the so-called “vetted moderate” Syrian rebels. As I reported back in September, the U.S.-backed Harakat al-Hazm issued a statement at the outset of the U.S. anti-ISIS bombing campaign saying it was ”an attack on the revolution.”
And I’ve also previously reported that many of these U.S.-backed and armed “vetted moderate” groups have shifting alliances that include fighting with ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra.
As far back as July there were reports that large groups of FSA units were defecting to al-Qaeda and ISIS, surrendering their U.S.-provided weapons along the way, and that other FSA units were forging peace deals and fighting alongside al-Qaeda and ISIS in some areas.
While most of the D.C. foreign policy establishment was promoting the arming of the so-called “vetted moderate” FSA, a few of us were openly skeptical of any effort to back so-called “moderate jihadists.” Whether by Republicans or Democrats, such efforts in the past have always ended in tears for the U.S. and led to increased threats to our national security.
This policy in Syria has been so disastrous the Obama administration has been openly distancing themselves from their “vetted moderate” Syrian rebel partners.
Remarkably, as I noted earlier this month, congressional Republican leadership jumped on board with Obama’s policies at the very moment he was abandoning them, voting to spend another $500 million to arm and train the “vetted moderates.” Meanwhile, some GOP figures who supported Obama’s policies of supporting and arming the FSA since 2011, namely John McCain and Lindsey Graham, have been unapologetic in the face of the collapse and defections of their “vetted moderate” friends.
It remains to be seen whether the new Congress that will be seated in January will follow the folly of the current Congress in providing training, money and weapons to the FSA. But expect these defections by the FSA and other U.S.-backed groups to ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra to continue.
With just days before the November 24th deadline to conclude negotiations to continue the freeze on Iran’s nuclear program, a senior Obama administration official, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, invoked a fake fatwa by Iran’s top leader Ayatollah Khamenei while speaking to the media yesterday.
CBS reporter Major Garrett tweeted earlier this morning:
Rhodes is not the first to fall for the bogus Iranian fatwa, as President Obama has cited it on at least two different occasions, including his address to the UN General Assembly in 2013.
But at that time, a number of sources pointed out that there’s no proof that such a fatwa exists. As CNS News reported:
As the international community has tracked Iran’s steady progress in developing technologies used to manufacture nuclear weapons, some critics have called into question the religious or ideological significance of such a ruling – or whether it even exists. Iranian officials in referring to it have given at least three different years of issue – 2004, 2005 and 2012.
“While Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s nuclear fatwa has been the stuff of diplomatic gossip for years, no one citing it has ever actually seen it,” commented American Enterprise Institute scholar Michael Rubin. “Khamenei lists all of his fatwas on his webpage, but the nuclear fatwa isn’t among them.”
“Such a fatwa was never issued by Supreme Leader Khamenei and does not exist,” the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) said on Sunday. “Neither the Iranian regime nor anybody else can present it.”
MEMRI has issued multiple reports about the fake fatwa, even noting that EU officials have been skeptical of its existence:
To date, the Europeans refuse to accept it. According to unofficial sources, the legal advisors of the EU3 made an official request to the Iranian regime in 2005 to provide a copy of the “fatwa,” but in vain.
MEMRI president Yigal Carmon told Fox News observed that Ayatollah Khamenei has been asked about it:
In July, the Iranian website Tasnimnews, which is linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, published an extensive list of 493 fatwas from Khamenei dating back to 2004. None forbade the pursuit of nuclear weapons. Carmon noted that Khamenei in 2012 was asked directly about the morality of pursuing nuclear weapons, and his answer was telling.
The question asked to Khamenei was, in light of a Koran teaching that orders Muslims to “prepare against [non-Muslims] whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah,” is it also “forbidden to obtain nuclear weapons, as per your ruling that their use is prohibited?”
Khamenei’s answer, according to MEMRI, was “your letter has no jurisprudential aspect. When it has a jurisprudent position, then it will be possible to answer it.”
Carmon said if a fatwa against the pursuit of nuclear weapons existed, Khamenei would have cited it.
“Wouldn’t you think he would say, ‘I given my fatwa, and it is this?’” Carmon said.
Former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton has chided Obama for citing the fake fatwa:
In declaring that diplomacy could work, Obama referred to a “fatwa” by Iran’s supreme leader against nuclear weapons, but Bolton pointed out that no one in the West has ever seen this document.
“The President of the United States showed just how gullible and naive and inexperienced he is by saying ‘well, the Iranians say they don’t want nuclear weapons.’ Well, what could go wrong there?” Bolton asked.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also fell for the fake fatwa, according to CNS News:
In April 2012, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan after a visit to Tehran raised the fatwa issue with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Clinton told reporters in Istanbul that she was “very interested” to hear that the Turks had been told “that the supreme leader viewed weapons of mass destruction as religiously prohibited, against Islam.”
“If the Iranians are truly committed to that statement of belief as conveyed to the prime minister and the foreign minister, then they should be open to reassuring the international community that it’s not an abstract belief but it is a government policy,” Clinton added.
Two days later Clinton again mentioned the fatwa, saying she had discussed it with “a number of experts and religious scholars.”
Tariq Alhomayed, editor-in-chief of the London-based, Saudi-owned daily Asharq Al-Awsat, in a column at the time said trusting Tehran on the basis of a religious ruling was “truly absurd.”
But not absurd enough for this administration, apparently.
UPDATE: A commenter on Twitter noted that Harvard’s Belfer Center has published a paper chronicling fatwas and statements by Islamic authorities for and against nuclear weapons. But the only apparent (from my quick read of the paper) reference to Ayatollah Khamenei was a reported 2003 statement (Correction: p. 61 also references statements made by Khomeini reported in this 2010 news article, but again, the actual fatwa is referred to but not produced). A statement or a news report, or even a claim that a fatwa exists, which as the MEMRI articles observe has been made several times by Iranian officials, is not an actual fatwa, which is specifically what Rhodes invoked according to Garrett.
As MEMRI has documented, Ayatollah Khamenei’s fatwas are publicly cataloged on the Supreme Leader’s website, but no anti-nuclear weapons fatwa can be found. Or perhaps the fatwa is in occultation with the Shia’s Hidden Imam?
Stunning news related to a top Clinton State Department diplomat, former Assistant Secretary of State Robin Raphel, that the Washington Post is reporting tonight is subject to an active FBI counter-intelligence investigation:
A veteran State Department diplomat and longtime Pakistan expert is under federal investigation as part of a counterintelligence probe and has had her security clearances withdrawn, according to U.S. officials.
The FBI searched the Northwest Washington home of Robin L. Raphel last month, and her State Department office was also examined and sealed, officials said. Raphel, a fixture in Washington’s diplomatic and think-tank circles, was placed on administrative leave last month, and her contract with the State Department was allowed to expire this week.
Two U.S. officials described the investigation as a counterintelligence matter, which typically involves allegations of spying on behalf of foreign governments. The exact nature of the investigation involving Raphel remains unclear. She has not been charged.
She was the first official to hold the position of assistant secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, appointed to that position by President Bill Clinton, and later served as US Ambassador to Tunisia and Senior Vice President of the National Defense University.
In August 2009, she was appointed as deputy for US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, where she was responsible for disbursing non-military aid to Pakistan.
This appointment was controversial because Raphel had been a registered agent for the Government of Pakistan just days before her new position was announced, and because of her close association with the Taliban during the Clinton Administration, earning Raphel the moniker, “Lady Taliban.”
According to one 2009 report:
Robin Raphel, 67, who has the dubious distinction of being a lobbyist for the former military regime of General Pervez Musharraf and who also has close ties with the Taliban as part of her lobbying for UNOCAL, will be the main person overlooking the $1.5 billion aid package to Pakistan, giving rise to concerns the U.S. taxpayers monies would go down the Pakistan drain.
Raphel is widow of former US Ambassador to Pakistan Arnold Raphel who had perished in the mysterious aircrash that killed Pakistan military dictator General Ziaul Haq and top brass of his military on August 17, 1988.
Raphel was appointed last month as deputy to Mr. Richard Holbrooke, the US. Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan…
He said another reason to doubt Secretary Clinton’s assertion of accountability is in the naming of Robin Raphel as a deputy to U.S. Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakstan, Richard Holbrooke.
“She had been a Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs beginning in 1993 and on her watch, the madrassas bloomed. Robin Raphel is the person who, during the Clinton presidency, squired Taliban officials around Washington as the next best hope for Afghan leadership,” Dienstag recalled.
Raphel was lobbying for the ill-fated UNOCAL pipe line project at the time.
Raphel eventually became a lobbyist at Cassidy & Associates for the military administration of General Pervez Musharraf. “She was responsible for the lobbying for Pakistan in the State Department as a registered foreign agent of Pakistan and the firm had a $1.2 million contract with the Govt of Pakistan. At this time Jezail sees this as a highly dubious appointment of a well known revolving door retread to a sensitive position,” Dienstag said.
Details of the current FBI investigation haven’t been released, but it is expected that her ties to Pakistan are likely to be focus of the matter.
One of the last acts Congress undertook before leaving Washington, D.C., in September for the midterm election break was to add $500 million in new funding to arm and train the so-called “vetted moderate” Syrian rebels. The $500 million in funding had been an agenda item for Obama since June, when ISIS began making quick gains in an offensive push back into Iraq.
But the political net effect of this vote was to get the GOP leadership in Congress to publicly buy into Obama’s rapidly crumbling Syria policy. Led by Boehner in the House and McConnell in the Senate, the congressional GOP leadership allowed Obama to walk them off the Syrian rebel cliff.
As I reported here at PJ Media yesterday, the most important “vetted moderate” rebel groups are in retreat, having surrendered or defected to Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria.
This development should come as no surprise to any member of the congressional GOP. In the week before the rebel amendment funding vote, I was asked to brief a number of GOP members and prepared a presentation on the collapse of the U.S.-backed Syria rebels that was widely circulated amongst both the House and Senate GOP conferences.
Among the chief trends I noted in these briefings — and that I was concurrently reporting on here — was that large groups of Free Syrian Army (FSA) units were defecting to al-Qaeda and ISIS, surrendering their U.S.-provided weapons along the way, and that other FSA units were forging peace deals and fighting alongside al-Qaeda and ISIS in some areas.
Even before the votes on the rebel funding, there was growing evidence that these “vetted moderate” forces were not moderate at all, and certainly would provide little assistance in fighting against ISIS.
Obama was hinting at where his policy was headed, too. Just a month before those congressional votes, in an interview with Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, Obama said that the belief that arming the Syrian rebels would have changed the situation had “always been a fantasy”:
With “respect to Syria,” said the president, the notion that arming the rebels would have made a difference has “always been a fantasy. This idea that we could provide some light arms or even more sophisticated arms to what was essentially an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth, and that they were going to be able to battle not only a well-armed state but also a well-armed state backed by Russia, backed by Iran, a battle-hardened Hezbollah, that was never in the cards.”
Even now, the president said, the administration has difficulty finding, training and arming a sufficient cadre of secular Syrian rebels: “There’s not as much capacity as you would hope.”
Again, this was more than a month before congressional GOP leadership took up the cause of sending $500 million more to the Syrian rebels, even though there were reports that the FSA had already lost at least $500 million in arms to ISIS and other jihadist groups.
GOP leaders also bought in on another highly controversial element to Obama’s Syrian rebel policy. In September 2013, it was reported that Obama had signed a waiver circumventing a federal law intended to prohibit aid from going to terrorist groups. But when GOP leadership rolled out their amendment to fund the “vetted moderate” Syrian rebels, it contained hardly any substantial limits to Obama’s waiver policy.
Reports the past two days indicate that two “vetted moderate” Syrian rebel groups, Harakat Hazm and the Syrian Revolutionaries Front (SRF), have surrendered, with some even defecting, to Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria.
Ruth Sherlock reports today at The Telegraph:
Two of the main rebel groups receiving weapons from the United States to fight both the regime and jihadist groups in Syria have surrendered to al-Qaeda.
The US and its allies were relying on Harakat Hazm and the Syrian Revolutionary Front to become part of a ground force that would attack the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
For the last six months the Hazm movement, and the SRF through them, had been receiving heavy weapons from the US-led coalition, including GRAD rockets and TOW anti-tank missiles.
But on Saturday night Harakat Hazm surrendered military bases and weapons supplies to Jabhat al-Nusra, when the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria stormed villages they controlled in northern Idlib province.
The development came a day after Jabhat al-Nusra dealt a final blow to the SRF, storming and capturing Deir Sinbal, home town of the group’s leader Jamal Marouf.
The attack caused the group, which had already lost its territory in Hama to al-Qaeda, to surrender.
A couple important points to note based on other reporting.
First is that al-Nusra was reportedly aided in the attack on the SRF by ISIS. According to a McClatchy report:
Even more ominous was that that the Islamic State, now far stronger and claiming to run a Caliphate in Syria and Iraq, reportedly had joined Jabhat al Nusra in the attack on the village of Deir Sinbul…
If Islamic State fighters in fact joined Nusra in the attack, it will have major repercussions for the war in Syria, for the two groups have been divided since April 2013, when Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the Iraq-based leader, announced the creation of the Islamic State. Nusra had supported the rebel war against Assad until very recently and also was at war with the Islamic State.
The second point is that reports indicate that one contributing factor to SRF’s collapse was the defection of some of their “vetted moderate” fighters:
In the past few days, the Nusra Front captured several villages in the Jabal al-Zawiya region of Idlib province and on Saturday it entered the village of Deir Sonbol, the stronghold of the Revolutionaries’ Front, forcing Maarouf to pull out.
“Dozens of his fighters defected and joined Nusra, that is why the group won,” Rami Abdulrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Reuters.
A Nusra fighter confirmed the report, saying: “They left him because they knew he was wrong and delusional.”
“He left his fighters in the battle and pulled out. Last night, we heard them on the radio shouting ‘Abu Khaled (Maarouf) escaped, Abu Khaled escaped’,” he added.
One Arabic language report indicates that 600 Hazm fighters defected, with 400 in Qalamoun and 200 up north (HT: Aymenn al-Tamimi). Whoever is doing the vetting of the “vetted moderates” for the State Department is clearly not doing a good job.
But perhaps more important is that both SRF and Hazm were armed and trained by the U.S., with those weapons now falling into the hands of Al-Qaeda.
As the Telegraph report cited above indicates, SRF had been armed with GRAD rockets and TOW missiles. Another report indicates that SRF tanks and other arms were captured following SRF’s retreat.
I reported here at PJ Media that Hazm had publicly condemned U.S. airstrikes on ISIS and al-Nusra as “an attack on the revolution.”
Both groups also received the hearty support of the Washington, D.C., foreign policy establishment, with Harakat al-Hazm being praised as “rebels worth supporting” and “a model candidate for greater U.S. and allied support, including lethal military assistance,” and SRF being hailed as “the West’s best fighting chance against Syria’s Islamist armies.”
Those chances are looking pretty bleak at the moment.
RIA Novosti is confirming reports seen on Twitter in the past few hours that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has been hit by rockets/mortars by ISIS:
BAGHDAD, October 22 (RIA Novosti) – The US Embassy in Iraq located in central Baghdad has been shelled with rockets, Al-Mustakillah news agency reported Wednesday citing a security source.
“On Tuesday night the US Embassy was hit with three rockets. They were fired from a park area in the Dora district [in southern Baghdad],” the agency’s source said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Al-Sumaria TV channel reported a mortar shelling of the so-called “green zone” in the center of the capital, housing government buildings and foreign missions. Security forces surrounded the area to repel a potential attack.
In my article last week on possible implications of ISIS taking Baghdad, I raised the issue of the problem of evacuating the thousands of U.S. military, diplomatic personnel, and American citizens from Iraq if Baghdad fell.
Reports yesterday indicated that ISIS had been walking rounds into the International Zone, presumably to sight in their rounds.
And the Washington Post reported last Thursday that ISIS had been lobbing rounds into the International Zone since early this month:
On Oct. 1, four mortar shells struck inside the Green Zone, a fortified area in central Baghdad filled with foreign embassies and government buildings, according to a U.S. Embassy security official, who declined to be identified. The rounds fell a few hundred yards from the U.S. Embassy and followed another mortar attack a week earlier, he said.
Brig. Gen. Saad Maan, spokesman for Baghdad Operations Command, confirmed that mortar fire had hit inside the Green Zone but said the shells landed on “empty space without any buildings.” He declined to give further details but said an investigation was underway to determine its source. He stressed that there have been no further incidents.
Consider today’s attack by ISIS a “further incident.”
Will the D.C. foreign policy establishment tell us, again, that ISIS attacking our embassy in Baghdad is a “sign of desperation” and an indication of their weakness?
BREAKING: Possible Terror Attack in Canada by Reported ISIS Sympathizer, Dead Suspect Is Martin ‘Ahmad’ Rouleau
NOTE: Updates below this post
According to multiple reports, Canadian authorities are investigating a hit-and-run and subsequent high-speed car chase this morning in St. Jean sur Richelieu in Quebec province as a possible terror attack. (HT: Stewart Bell)
A man in his 30s was shot by police in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., earlier this afternoon after he hit two members of the Canadian Forces with his car and led police on a dramatic high-speed chase.
The soldiers were hit in a parking lot of a commercial plaza at around 11:30 a.m. ET. Both were injured, one critically.
The incident was raised in the House of Commons this afternoon by Conservative MP Randy Hoback, who questioned Prime Minister Stephen Harper about “unconfirmed reports of a possible terror attack” targeting members of the Canadian Forces.
Harper, reading from a piece of paper, would only say he was ”aware of these reports” and that they are troubling.
Police have not named the soldiers but confirmed at an afternoon news conference that they were members of the armed forces.
Another report indicates that the suspect was inside the military office beforehand talking about ISIS and may be an ISIS sympathizer.
“Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him.”
“If you are unable to do so, then burn his home, car, or business. Or destroy his crops. If you are unable to do so, then spit in his face.”
If this is a confirmed attack, it may be a copycat attack based off of the May 2013 killing of British Army drummer Lee Rigby on the streets of Woolwich.
UPDATE2: Rouleau’s Facebook page is filled with caliphate imagery.
UPDATE3: Here’s a picture of Rouleau from his Ummaland (Muslim social networking site) page, where is user name was “Ahmad the Convert”:
UPDATE4: Canadian Prime Minister’s Office says that Rouleau “had become radicalized”:
“The individual who struck the two CAF members with his car is known to federal authorities, including the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team,” said the statement from Jason MacDonald, the prime minister’s spokesman.
“Federal authorities have confirmed that there are clear indications that the individual had become radicalized. As Canada’s national security agencies have said, Canadians should remain vigilant.”
UPDATE5: Stewart Bell of the National Post reports on Rouleau’s online activity:
A Twitter account under the name Ahmad Rouleau featured the banner of the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham, the terrorist group that last month called on its followers to kill Canadians because of Ottawa’s role in the anti-ISIS military coalition.
“Islam is the only true religion. Anyone who want scientific proof of God that your terrorist Zionism Rothschild media hide, contact me or add me if you re open minded,” he commented beneath an online Time magazine article last May.
On a Facebook page under the same name, French and English posts — the last one on Friday — denounced Christianity and Judaism. “Allah has promised the hypocrite men and hypocrite women and the disbelievers the fire of Hell, wherein they will abide eternally. It is sufficient for them. And Allah has cursed them, and for them is an enduring punishment,” he wrote.
UPDATE6: The Toronto Sun adds this interesting tidbit:
A source says the suspect called 911 during the chase to say that he carried out his acts in the name of Allah.
And also reports:
Couture-Rouleau became known to the RCMP after a relative alerted police to the man’s terrorist leanings, a police source told QMI Agency.
A neighbor told QMI that Couture-Rouleau had grown out his beard and started wearing a turban after converting to Islam a year ago.
UPDATE7: National Post reports that one of the soldiers run down by Rouleau has died.
For the past three years, the Obama administration has hailed the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as the saviors of Syria — the “vetted moderate” force that was going to topple the butcher Assad. Because of that, the administration provided training, money and weapons to prop up the FSA (the word is they sent lawyers too).
But according to a report last night by Hannah Allam at McClatchy, Obama is now throwing the FSA under bus:
John Allen, the retired Marine general in charge of coordinating the U.S.-led coalition’s response to the Islamic State, confirmed Wednesday what Syrian rebel commanders have complained about for months – that the United States is ditching the old Free Syrian Army and building its own local ground force to use primarily in the fight against the Islamist extremists.
“At this point, there is not formal coordination with the FSA,” Allen told reporters at the State Department.
That was perhaps the bluntest answer yet to the question of how existing Syrian rebel forces might fit into the U.S. strategy to fight the Islamic State. Allen said the United States’ intent is to start from scratch in creating a home-grown, moderate counterweight to the Islamic State.
For most of the three years of the Syrian conflict, the U.S. ground game hinged on rebel militias that are loosely affiliated under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, or FSA. Their problems were no secret: a lack of cohesion, uneven fighting skills and frequent battlefield coordination with the al Qaida loyalists of the Nusra Front.
Those reports came just as Congress was considering a vote to spend another $500 million to train their administration’s “vetted moderate” partners. That funding was approved by both the House and the Senate before Congress left town for the election break. With Obama cutting the FSA loose less than a month later, those who voted against the funding are going to look like geniuses.
Now that the FSA is safely under the bus it remains to be seen exactly who Obama is going to enlist to train and fight. Most of those who can fight are already in the fight. What are they going to do now, put out an ad on Craig’s List?
As one observer noted last night, Syria watchers should keep an eye out for the following ad showing up in the help wanted section of Middle East newspapers:
Wanted, Multicultural, non-sectarian, Jeffersonian democrats interested in military careers. English a plus. Drug test required.
Under Obama’s bus must be getting crowded…
Reports that ISIS has surrounded Baghdad and is quickly closing in on the Baghdad International Airport (armed with MANPADS, no less) are troubling. Baghdad itself has been rocked by a series of VBIED attacks in the past 24 hours by ISIS, indicating that the battle for Baghdad has begun.
The possible fall of Baghdad could be the most significant development in the War on Terror since 9/11. And yet many among the D.C. foreign policy “smart set” were not long ago mocking such a scenario.
So what happens if such a situation comes to pass? Here are five key implications (by no means limited to these) if Baghdad falls to ISIS:
1) ISIS will not be claiming to the be the Islamic State, they will BE the Islamic State
Symbolism doesn’t matter much to your average post-modern Westerner, but it still does in the Islamic world, and the capture of Baghdad will hold enormous value. For 500 years Baghdad was the seat of the Abbasid caliphate, and its fall to ISIS would allow the terrorist group to reclaim that mantle. Such an event will electrify the Middle East and beyond, with many Muslims holding firmly to the belief that the abolition of the Ottoman caliphate in 1924 by Ataturk was one of the key contributing factors in the decline of the Muslim world over the past century. No amount of State Department hashtags or tweets, or pronouncements by Sheikh Barack Obama and Imam John Kerry that there is nothing Islamic about the Islamic State, will be able to negate any claims by ISIS to be the revived caliphate.
2) The Great Reconciliation between jihadist groups will begin
Much of the Obama administration’s anti-ISIS efforts have been trying to leverage other “vetted moderate” groups in Syria against ISIS, with some “smart set” thinkers even advocating engaging “moderate Al-Qaeda” to that end. We are already seeing jihadist groups gravitating towards ISIS, such as the announcement this week by Pakistani Taliban leaders pledging their allegiance to the Islamic State. Other groups of younger jihadis are breaking away from Al-Qaeda franchises in North Africa and defecting to ISIS. Despite bitter rivalries between ISIS and other jihadist groups in Syria, namely Al-Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, these other groups will be hard-pressed to deny ISIS’ caliphate claims if they do take Baghdad. In that part of the world, nothing succeeds like success. If Baghdad falls, jihadist groups, some of whom have been openly hostile or remained neutral, will quickly align behind ISIS. And the horrid sound coming out of Washington, D.C., will be of foreign policy paradigms imploding.